In my article currently circulating in Nueva Réplica I regretted that the New York Times had not raised the case of Gerardo, Ramón and Antonio in its editorial last October in which the paper called for ending the US blockade against Cuba.
When I wrote it, I did not imagine that with that document, the New York paper would start an important debate, which has lasted a month and includes several editorials advocating a substantial change in the relations between the two countries. The latest one, published Sunday, November 2, proposed that the three be released and that in exchange, Cuba for humanitarian reasons would free Alan Gross who was sentenced here for participating in illegal activities to overthrow the revolutionary government. This a fair and reasonable position. The paper is right when it defines the release of three Cuban heroes as a vital step towards civilized coexistence between two countries that are and will always be neighbors.
It should be added to the arguments of the Times that none of the Five were accused of espionage and therefore were not “spies”. As was demonstrated at the trial in Miami, none of them had access to secret information related to the national security of the United States. Neither had been given directions to look for that kind of information. This was acknowledged under oath by Gen. James R. Clapper who was a government witness whose testimony appears on pages 13089-13235 of the trial transcript. It’s the same Clapper who today is the Director of National Intelligence in the Obama Administration.
It is also necessary to remember that the mission of the Five was to try to thwart terrorist plans against Cuba which more than once have caused death and damage also to people living in United States.
But, in any case, this editorial from the New York Times should be hailed as an event of transcendental importance. The wall of silence surrounding the case of the Five has received a devastating blow which hopefully is final.
Ricardo Alarcon Quesada is President of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power
Translation by Walter Lippmann